Fraser-Winter Park Police officer stays busy even on a quiet night
May 26, 2008
Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when Officer Roy Ybarra come for you?
Last Friday I rode co-pilot next to Fraser-Winter Park Police Officer Roy Ybarra to see how the Drivers Under the Influence crackdown would go down on the start of Memorial Day weekend. However, word must have gotten out that the police officers were stepping up patrol, because while I was driving with Ybarra he didn’t spot any drunk drivers.
However, I did get to see Ybarra in action. As we patrolled the streets along with seeing a man not wearing a shirt and several fox, we also witnessed: a driver tailgating a car, a bicyclist with no reflectors dressed in all black, a lost driver making an illegal turn and a person toss a lit cigarette out the window. Well actually, Ybarra spotted the lawbreakers and each time he spun around and turned on the lights my response was, “Ah, what’d I miss?”
I guess that’s why he’s the patrol officer and I’m not. I also was impressed that he was able to identify who most the people were, such as the shirtless man and nearly invisible bicyclist. When the lost people made an illegal turn he knew before getting out of the police vehicle that they were lost and with the warning he also issued them directions.
Ybarra said he wants the residents to trust him and to talk to him when they’re in trouble. That’s why he agreed to take a photo with a group of teenagers he told about the importance of wearing seat belts.
We also stopped at The Pub to display police presence, and many locals greeted Ybarra.
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Ybarra’s passion is for making Winter Park a safe place. He said he wants to protect the people in the town from drunken drivers. To do that his goal is to get dangerous people off the roads. Last year he issued 48 of the department’s 118 DUIs.
Plan your ride home
Ybarra recommends that people plan their evenings ahead of time.
If they are going to consume alcoholic beverages at the bar they should arrange to have a designated driver, a cab or a friend give them a safe ride home. Stumbling home in the wintertime is not safe either, he added.
Last year about 260 people died in Colorado as the result of drinking and driving accidents. About 41 percent of all car accidents in the nation are alcohol-related, said Ybarra, who doubles as a DUI instructor.
This year the number of DUIs in Winter Park has dropped considerably from last year, he said.
“That’s due to our proactive enforcement,” Ybarra said. “People know if they drink and drive there’s a good chance they are going to get caught, so they won’t do it.”
“It’s not to deter people from having fun,” he said. “If they know that they’re going to get caught, and that we enforce it strictly out here … it’s going to deter them from getting out there and drinking and driving.”
The same rules apply to Winter Park visitors as they do to everyone else, he added.
Some people are going to drink and drive no matter what.
“Our job is to get those people off the road before they hurt somebody or kill somebody,” he said. “It’s simply holding them responsible for their actions.”